Beau Geste back in charge
Three races, three different courses and three different winners demonstrates how tight knit the TP52s contesting their Southern Cross Cup series on Port Phillip are, bringing to fruition the vision makers’ concept for the inaugural Australian class circuit.
Karl Kwok’s Team Beau Geste, sailing for the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, was again the steady performer, a first and two seconds giving them an early two-point break on Jason Van Der Slot’s Calm 2 (VIC) and four points on Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan (NSW).
Team Beau Geste’s helmsman Gavin Brady spoke highly of the competition: “The results show the level of the fleet, and everyone’s getting better. The vision for the circuit was that it wouldn’t be dominated by one or two boats. Because there are no coaches and only one practice day, as a group you are self-sufficient. The team who wins will be the team that improves each race – that’s our aim."
Today’s three races were the first short course races for Kwok on his TP52 in three years. The breeze stayed under 16 knots however it was a physically taxing day for the jet-lagged owner, who flew in from Hong Kong yesterday, and all sailors with 100% effort going into roll tacks, hard hiking and grinding-on the winches on the juiced-up TPs.
“There won’t be too many up late watching the football tonight after today, and with what’s coming,” said Brady referring to tomorrow’s strong wind warning and possible 20-30 knot N-NW breeze. The upper limit for the class is 24 knots.
Calm 2’s helmsman Barney Walker was happy with their strong start, a win in race one backed up by two thirds, which has put them into the second tier position: “Whoever got their nose out in front found the new pressure first, but it was up and down and it was easy to get on the wrong side of the shifts. It wasn’t an easy day.” Of the latest generation TP52s, Walker puts Calm 2, Shogun V and Hooligan on an even par and Team Beau Geste in a slightly superior league downwind.
Marcus Blackmore had sailing royalty on Hooligan today. John Bertrand AM, who 30 years ago this year skippered Australia II to victory in the 1983 America’s Cup, was the VIP guest on the black boat.
Hooligan will have another high profile face on board tomorrow when Mark Richards, skipper of the champion supermaxi Wild Oats XI, flies in to take the wheel from Blackmore, who is leaving Melbourne tonight to attend an Officer Training Unit reunion in Sydney.
With a number of crew from Wild Oats racing on Hooligan, plus the Sydney northern beaches sailing Mafia connection, Richo will be among friends when he takes the helm tomorrow, assuming the race committee goes ahead with the scheduled program of up to three races starting at midday.
Mick Martin’s Frantic is still making its way to Sandringham and is now due at 1000 this evening. Three of the crew took a Beneteau 7.5m out today and sailed around the course perimeter then cheekily through the start gate on one of the downwind runs, well clear of the flat-out 52 footers.
Of their delivery from Sydney Martin says it was “Bass Strait sailing 101” with a horrid seaway and headwinds in the mid-40s, which caused seasickness for a couple of the tiny crew of four. “They soldiered on; we are just sorry we missed the regatta start. We’ll be there tomorrow with a few broken bells on,” said Martin tonight.
|1||IVB1997||Team Beau Geste||Karl Kwok||2||1||2||5|
|2||SM2052||Calm 2||Jason Van Der Slot||1||3||3||7|
|5||5200||Cougar II||Anthony Lyall||5||6||6||17|
|6||SM11||Scarlet Runner||Rob Date||7||4||7||18|